Detroit Future: A Media Based Economy
When they built the interstate highways through Detroit, they divided neighborhoods and paved a path to the suburbs. When we look at the digital divide, we see the information superhighway is doing the same thing: setting communities apart and giving the more affluent a path to abandon the city. For all of the Internet’s power to unite those of us who use it, how can we ensure that it does not divide us from those who don’t?
Since 2009 the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition has been using media and technology for community organizing and development. We won a federal grant of $2 million to support this effort. We have learned from our experience with the auto industry that getting trained to wait for corporate investment will not put everyone to work. Encouraging poor people to give their money to Comcast and AT&T does not create wealth. And there is no use in telling people to go online if their local businesses and organizations aren’t there, and instead all they find are news articles about how hopeless Detroit is.
Instead of trying to fit our communities to existing technology, we are trying to reshape technology to fit to our communities. We are building our offline communities, then going online together with new sites for their most important institutions and conversations. We are teaching people to teach, as well as learn; to be entrepreneurs, and not just consumers; to build their own communications networks that match to the social networks in their neighborhoods.
Diana Nucera, teaching artist, accomplished cellist, and Media Maven
has been teaching and working in the media arts and technology for the past thirteen years. She has performed with internationally-renown artists such as Matthew Barney and Invincible, in addition to being a core member of multiple music projects in Detroit. Her expertise crosses many borders encompassing education, video installation, science and technology, songwriting and performance. Diana builds multi-media creative centers where ever she goes. She is a Co-Director of Allied Media Projects managing media and technology educational programing in Detroit, MI. Allied Media Projects (AMP), advances strategies for using media and technology to investigate, illuminate, and develop visionary solutions to the crises faced by our communities.
Mike Medow is a Co-Director of Allied Media Projects. He joined AMP as an Allied Media Conference organizer in 2005 and led the transition of the conference to Detroit in 2007. He coordinated operations for the AMC as attendance increased each year, from 600 people in 2006 to 1,800 in 2011. Mike has managed the finances, business model, organization development, and web development strategy as AMP has doubled in size every year for the past five years, launching new year-round programs and expanding its staff. Mike is also a pretty good DJ, and a founder of record label Emergence Media with acclaimed hip hop artist Invincible.
Nina Bianchi's passion for Detroit and ardent belief in participatory design as an agent of change is expressed through projects including Community Wireless Educational Toolkits, Discovering Technology Workshops, Detroit Mini Assembly Line and A People’s Guide to Detroit, to name a few. Her work has been exhibited at the SMART Museum of Art in Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami and Museo de Antioquia in Medellin, Colombia and published in various capacities, including publications from the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Make Magazine and Volume Magazine (NL). Her work has received awards from American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), Taiwan International Design Competition, Texas Public Relations Association and University and College Designer’s Association.